This week's guest editors

Boko Haram: time for an alternative approach

Military responses to Boko Haram have proved ineffective, as the latest atrocity in Nigeria highlights. An alternative focused on good governance, policing and socio-economic development, supported by the international community, would be much more likely to succeed.

Climate change and false gods: Moloch and the bible-punchers in the US

The UN's IPCC report on climate change calls for immediate action to deal with a crisis which supersedes and includes all other questions. Meredith Tax says that international pressure on the US government to deal with the crisis is essential, for soon it will be too late.

Negotiating with the Taliban

No one should expect progress in Afghanistan anytime soon, enmeshed as it is in a complex web of interaction among state and non-state actors. 

Obama, Saudi Arabia and “anti-terrorism”

Last week the US president, Barack Obama, visited Saudi Arabia. Fighting extremism, the crisis in Syria, and Iran's nuclear programme would all have been live concerns. Human rights, however, was not.

Egypt: a space that isn't our own

Last month a young woman was mob attacked on Cairo University campus. Socially and culturally constructed circles that control our lives seem to be tightening at a time when individuals are trying their hardest to crack them open. Zainab Magdy explores whether women will ever find a space that is their own.

Troop withdrawals and women’s rights in Afghanistan

The ‘liberation of Afghan women’ was part of the dominant rhetoric used by international forces to justify military intervention and the ‘war on terror’ in post- 2001 Afghanistan. Yet, Afghanistan’s struggle for women’s rights did not begin with the arrival of troops, nor will it end upon their withdrawal

Gender violence, Narendra Modi and the Indian elections

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has a good chance of winning the forthcoming general election in India. Amrit Wilson reports on discussions about what life has been like for women in the states where the BJP has been in power, and what may lie ahead

Contesting patriarchy-as-governance: lessons from youth-led activism

Youth-led mobilisation has mocked and exposed patriarchal power by unmasking its politics of social control. Are we on the threshold of a new politics of gender creating cross-gender alliances around struggles against autocracy?

No sex, some lies and a video: Pakistan's Taliban impasse

It was not an act of violence against women but a macabre video that led to the abortion of this round of peace talks with the Taliban in Pakistan

Football, religion and politics in Egypt

As Egypt’s military-backed regime moves to further consolidate its power, no spheres of civil society are free of state encroachment. Leila Zaki Chakravarti analyses the intricate relationships between football, religion and politics in the settling of political scores in post-revolutionary Egypt.

The anti-women gag law in Afghanistan: the pitfalls of hasty conclusions

Does the new criminal procedure code in Afghanistan really signal the definitive demise of all efforts to curb violence against women? An accurate reading of the law, and a more nuanced understanding of post-NATO developments and their impact on women’s rights tells a different story.

The war against contraception: “Women need to be liberated from their libidos."

The new Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) requires all health plans to pay for contraception. Some religious organizations and corporations are so angry that they have taken their case to the US Supreme Court.

Constitutional rights, sexual rights, and "morality" in India

In the aftermath of the recent rulings in India re-criminalising homosexuality, Poonam Joshi reports on the critical role that grassroots LGBTI activists play in building public support for LGBTI rights in Karnataka

For Aziz Smati on Valentine's Day

In honour of the determination of people like Algerian TV producer, Aziz Smati, who was shot exactly twenty years ago today, we must support all those who wield song against suicide belt, and wage art against fundamentalism, writes Karima Bennoune

Pour Aziz Smati, pour la Saint Valentin

Pour rendre hommage à la détermination de gens comme le producteur Algérien Aziz Smati, qui était victime d’un attentat il y a exactement 20 ans, il nous faut soutenir tous ceux qui opposent des chansons aux ceinture d’explosifs et luttent par l’art contre l’intégrisme, écrit Karima Bennoune

Embracing shame: turning honour on its head

The challenge that embracing shame poses to the longstanding perversion of honour, is the struggle for women’s human rights -  the realisation of which will result in the entire community’s advancement and healing.

The Liberty Train: "Because I Decide"

A women’s group on the northern coast of Spain devised a plan to fill a train full of protestors against Government proposals to reform the abortion law by destroying a woman’s right to decide. “El Tren de la Libertad” - destination Madrid - was the result. Liz Cooper got on board at Valladolid.

Egypt as a role model: an opportunity lost

The January 25th uprising offered Egypt the opportunity to become a role model for peaceful transition in the region and beyond. But with the hijack of the will of the people almost completed, Egypt is moving further away from realising democracy.

Acid attacks: showing my face, raising my voice

Women who have survived acid attacks are speaking out and refusing to have their identity destroyed. Samira Shackle spoke to some of the survivors in Islamabad who are campaigning to strengthen legislation against this most brutal form of gender based violence.

University Challenge: secular neutrality or religious privilege?

UK universities appear to be elevating the right to manifest religion and religious freedom over other rights, including freedom of expression and gender equality.  Students need to resist this tide of religious privilege in the interests of a secular and progressive university education, says Radha Bhatt

Let’s criminalise forced marriage: secular and Islamic perspectives

In a rejoinder to Amrit Wilson's article Criminalising forced marriage in the UK: why it will not help women, Tehmina Kazi lays out the arguments for the criminalisation of forced marriage, with a particular focus on the Scottish Parliament's recent consultation on full criminalisation

Why are women in Kenya still dying from unsafe abortions?

Kenya’s Constitution permits access to safe abortion, yet Kenyan women still resort to unsafe methods of termination with countless women dying as a consequence. Saoyo Tabitha Griffith analyses what the Kenyan government needs to do to affirm women’s rights to life and health.

Egypt's constitutional referendum: the untold story

By ignoring expressions of people power in the Egyptian  constitutional referendum, some western political commentators and the media are showing a disconnect with the pulse of the citizenry and engaging in a dangerous politics of omission, argues Mariz Tadros

Egypt: a tale of two constitutions

Reading the 2012 and 2013 Egyptian constitutions together is less a tale of successive steps towards constitutional democracy and more an illustration of how the revolution was lost in two successive jolts – first Morsi’s Islamism without legitimacy, and then the violent militarism that accompanied Morsi’s removal from power.

Criminalising forced marriage in the UK: why it will not help women

New proposals to criminalise forced marriage are due for their penultimate reading in the House of Lords this month. Amrit Wilson reports on one of the most strongly contested pieces of legislation relating to gender to go through Parliament in recent years

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